12 Road Trip Essentials For Your Next Cross-Canada Trek

Taking off on a cross-country trek? Don't leave your driveway until you're sure these road trip essentials are on board.

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Icefields Parkway, British Columbia, road trip
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12 Canadian Road Trip Essentials

Pack your bags, buckle in and prepare for road trip season! Whether you’re making the family rounds or heading south for a little fun in the sun, it’s important you’re prepared for the long haul before you leave your driveway. This checklist of road trip essentials is the perfect place to start your packing.

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Smartphone with earphones attached
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Audio Books

Check some new-to-you audio books out of the library. Kids and adults alike can enjoy tales like The Chronicles of Narnia, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Hobbit or Harry Potter (their easy storylines make them perfect for a driver to pay attention to as well). These fun car games can also help pass the time.

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Assorted finger foods and snacks
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There are two strategies when it comes to road trip snacks. One: you can bring along crumb-free, non-greasy and non-gooey finger foods like baby carrots, grapes and sandwiches. Or two: pack your family’s favourite “treat” foods like chips and baked goods, as a special car reward.

Liven up the journey by making detours to these quirky roadside attractions across Canada.

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Folded checkered blanket
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Blankets and Pillows

Favourite bed pillows and blankets are road trip essentials. Whether it’s a child’s security blanket or a pillow for the passenger seat navigator, a soft cushion can make a cold car cozy.

Facing a heavy downpour on the highway? Don’t miss these tips for safe driving in wet weather.

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Close-up of car keys
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Spare Keys

Don’t get locked out of the car: Always pack a duplicate set of car (and house) keys in a separate bag. (These are the things you should never leave in the car.)

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Old soccer ball on grass field
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Sports Equipment

Bring along a flying disc, football, or jump rope so antsy kids (and adults!) can blow off a little steam at rest stops.

While you’re enjoying the break, discover some secret car key fob uses you’ll wish you knew sooner.

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Red First-Aid Kit bag
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First-Aid Kit

To treat road-trip aches, nicks, and scrapes, pack a plastic bag full of items like anti-bacterial cream, bandages, pain relievers and motion sickness medicine. Here are more things you should have in your car in case of roadside trouble.

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Scrabble tiles
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Some friendly competition will go a long way towards warding off boredom. Some ideas: cards, travel bingo and the Daily Crossword.

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Emergency kit with rope, knife, batteries and water bottle
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Emergency Kit

Double-check your trunk for a complete roadside emergency kit. A flashlight and fresh batteries should be considered road trip essentials.

Check out our complete roadside emergency guide.

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Paper towel on black wooden table
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Paper Products

Pack paper towels, toilet paper (you never know with rest areas and gas stations!), a box of tissues and some garbage bags. And bring more than you think you’ll need – there’s always the possibility of car sickness in addition to the normal spills and usual cleanup.

Here’s what you should always keep in your car’s glove box.

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Woman cleaning her hands with baby wipes
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Baby Wipes

Bring a container of disposable wipes, or simply put some folded damp paper towels in a resealable plastic bag. You’ll use them for everything from sticky fingers to a quick refreshing mask for road-weary eyes. Check out more genius baby wipe uses you’ll wish you knew sooner.

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Smartphone being charged
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Handheld Chargers

Make sure you bring along a travel charger for your smartphone, iPod or GPS electronic devices. You should also follow these tips to charge your phone as quickly as possible.

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Multicoloured clothing in drawer
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Spare Clothes

If you’re travelling with young children, remember that accidents happen. Bring along a change of clothing for the inevitable leaks and spills.

Looking for inspiration? Don’t miss our countdown of the top 10 greatest Canadian road trips.

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